Cometti: Tax not just a luxury
Cometti: Tax not just a luxury

Not sure what Port Adelaide chairman David Koch was suggesting at the weekend when he said "passion beats money".

Koch spoke out as the swirling debate surrounding a luxury tax in the AFL continued to grab attention.

It's true his revitalised Power knocked Collingwood out of the finals last season but I doubt even the breakfast TV guru thinks it can be that black and white.

If he does, it means a heck of a lot of people are wasting a boatload of bucks.

According to Koch, Port spent a total of $600,000 on its football department last season.

Eddie McGuire was recently quoted saying his club "had increased the spend on its football department by over $1.3m in 2013".

In overall terms that increase pushed the difference in annual football department spending between Collingwood and Port Adelaide to over $6m.

If nothing else Koch's comments won't have endeared him to the AFL clubs hoping for better days thanks to a luxury tax.

Ironically his biggest supporter turned out to be 'Bucks'. Aka Nathan Buckley.

Answering a question about his team's home-based pre-season the Collingwood coach yesterday downplayed the advantages of high-cost high-altitude training overseas, an item that has become increasingly fashionable for those that can and can't afford it. Credit Buckley for, as always, not playing politics.

Which only makes Koch's observation "for every dollar more a club spends on its football department it gets less value" right on the money.

Some clubs spend because they can. Some clubs feel obliged to spend although they shouldn't.

And beyond a certain point it's becoming an expensive game of follow the leader and speculation.

Despite the obvious disadvantages I must say I favour a luxury tax for no other reason than the last team to win an AFL premiership with a football department 'spend' not ranked in the top half of the competition was North Melbourne in 1999.

And that was before things got compulsive and crazy!

But like Buckley, let me try to be even-handed here.

It's not often that you can find a set of figures that support both extremes in a tax debate like this one, a tax that has it's origins in Major League Baseball in the United States.

MLB has 30 teams but no salary cap. It introduced the luxury tax hoping to curb an imbalance in team payrolls.

Of course the AFL has a salary cap, player payments aren't its problem, football departments are!

On face value I've got to say MLB doesn't strike me (no pun intended) as being tough enough.

It targets repeat offenders (but too long-winded to deal with here) yet the following figures should get both sides of our local debate saying 'I told you so'.

Last season The New York Yankees paid $US229 million in player payments to shade Los Angeles Dodgers ($216m) and Philadelphia ($160m).

Probably safe to assume that trio spared no expense in any area!

At the other end of the scale Houston spent $24m on it's team (less than New York's top paid player) just below Miami ($40m) and the Tampa Bay Rays ($57m).

But as I recall none of the above played in the World Series.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Our Picks

Follow Us

More from The West